Montana made recreational cannabis legal this past election, and now, they’ve begun the process of licensing, already looking ahead to the future of the recreational industry.
According to the Montana Department of Revenue, the state is currently planning on being able to make licenses available by October of next year, a little less than a year from now and a quick start for the industry. I-190, the new cannabis regulation initiative, establishes a legal, regulated cannabis industry in the state.
“On November 3, 2020, Montana voters approved initiatives regarding the sale, possession and taxation of marijuana for adults 21 and over,” the department claims in a special message on the new initiative that they have posted on their website. Per Initiative 190, the department will begin accepting applications for necessary licenses by October 1, 2021.
“Under I-190, the Montana Department of Revenue will license and regulate the cultivation, transportation and sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products, and will inspect premises where marijuana is cultivated or sold.”
This new branch of the Department of Revenue will be in charge of all things legal cannabis, which, as other legal states will attest to, is no small task. From the first stages of cultivation all the way through legal sales, there are many aspects of the industry that must be regulated.
“There’s a lot of work ahead before the first legal sale of non-medical marijuana in Montana, and before the first license is issued,” said Gene Walborn, director of the department, in a conversation with NBC Montana about the newly accepted regulations. “We look forward to working with the public and all interested parties as we develop guidelines around this new industry to move it forward, while also protecting public safety and raising revenue for the state of Montana.”
In addition to being responsible for overseeing the cultivation, transportation, and sale of all products, the Department will also handle inspections of cultivation sites and the 20 percent sales tax that will be added to all legal cannabis products. This new industry can potentially bring in a lot of new revenue to the state.
“We anticipate that the Legislature will address the initiative during the legislative session beginning January 4, 2021, the message on the initiative claims regarding the timeline.
Limitations on Licensing
For the time being, licenses will be very limited. Only those who are already licensed as providers for the Montana Medical Marijuana Program can apply for the licenses that will be up for grabs, at least for the first 12 months that the industry exists.
However, all of the information for the fledgling cannabis industry is not yet hammered out. The upcoming legislative session will give the Montana Legislature more time to work out details of Montana cannabis. More information about rules and license procedures is on the way. More details on the new program are available through the official montana.gov site. While this industry is still very much in its infancy, many possibilities are on the horizon for the state of Montana.